Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

We recognize how lucky we are to get to celebrate our second Father's Day all together, and we celebrated all day long. We started out with a french toast breakfast with coffee for the parents and juice for the girls.

Steve had a cappuccino, and the girls LOVED the foam at the top. So he very sweetly went down to the kitchen and frothed them each up a cup of milk for themselves. They adored the foam!

We had planned a picnic, but had our doubts it would work out since there was an 80% chance of thunderstorms all day, and we woke up to rain for the first several hours of the morning. Still, we put the girls to bed for a nap, and when they awoke it was perfect weather for a picnic (or, as the girls say, pic-pic).

Christina packed turkey and avocado finger sandwiches, potato salad, (oven) fried chicken, melon, chocolate cupcakes, and lemonade and off we went. The girls got to try out their new camp chairs (we bought them in anticipation of our planned camping trip to Idaho in July).

The girls are so big - they sat on one side of the picnic table and Steve and Christina sat on the other side. A year ago, we couldn't have imagined they could sit, unsupported, and eat their own lunch!

We just loved celebrating this amazing dad all day long - we are so happy we get Steve in our lives and that we get a special day to thank him.

After lunch, we played in the woods a bit. Elena strapped Soft Dog into the wagon, Clara worked with her own buckle, and then...

...Elena pulled them through the woods. Elena is getting so strong!

We took a minute to call GDaddy and Nana Rose for some happy Father's Day wishes - the girls are getting a little more excited about talking on the phone, but they are not quite at a conversational level yet. :)

Then, Steve taught the girls how to collect things for their buckets. Clara picked pinecones:

And Elena picked up sticks:

Steve is so good with these little sweethearts - it's great to be behind the camera and get to watch them.
We topped off the day with Dairy Queen for an added treat - they had free treats for Dads! And free cones for kids, so it was a pretty cheap date.

Two making funny faces at each other:

Showing off a funny face:
And two just cracking up:

We had a truly lovely day today. Happy Father's Day to everyone!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happy Adoption Day!

Today marks one year since Clara and Elena legally became our daughters.
We want to make their adoption day special for them every year, in many ways. In addition to lots of talk (about birth family, our family together, their thoughts on adoption and family, etc.) we also want to mark the euphoria we felt when we were amazingly able to call these girls our own.

So, today we went about that by taking the girls to the party store and letting them pick any balloon they wanted (Elena chose a Pooh mylar, Clara chose Curious George). We had doughnuts and bagels for breakfast, and played together, all four of us, all day long.

Christina wanted to make the girls something special. Ever since she bought a cupcake book nearly a year ago (Hello, Cupcake!) the girls have been obsessed with the penguins in the book. They point to them and pick them out of the whole book, every time. So, Christina took a stab at making them. They are certainly not the world's prettiest cupcakes, but it was fun to show the girls how something from the book could suddenly be in front of them, messy and fun.

Here is the penguin flock:

And here is a (very LOUD, and so sorry for that!) video of the girls seeing them:

And here are our darling girls today, big and strong and happy and beautiful:

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And, to hopefully bring a little of our euphoria into your lives today, here is the video we meant to upload ages ago, of the girls dancing in the driveway to the "Little Ducks" song:

Happy, happy day.

Monday, June 15, 2009


We mean that in two senses of the word this week. First, the girls were ready to find their horses and head off to the cattle drive as soon as they discovered their Dad's cowboy hat this week. They had so much fun playing with it, and we thought they were the cutest cowgirls ever.

But the girls were really ready to giddyup and go when they got their early birthday presents today from their Grandpa and Grandma Mary! Their first, red, Radio-Flyer tricycles!
Thank you, Grandpa and Grandma Mary!

Here is Elena, her first time on the trike:

She is clearly thrilled and awed. She was very proud that she could get on and off by herself, as evidenced here:
Generally, she was just over-the-top thrilled, even though she can only push a little bit since she hasn't got a lot of the coordination down yet.
Clara, being a bit tinier, is even less mobile on the trike at the moment, but that didn't lessen her love for it.
In fact, one of her first things to do with the trike was to kiss it:
Clara liked being pushed around on the bike, and that' s probably a good way for her to learn, for now. She likes pushing Elena, too, but Elena really wants to ride on her own. Here's Clara, with apparent great concentration, sitting still on her trike:

Funny side note - as we were out riding/sitting/pushing trikes in the driveway, a motorcycle roared past. The girls pointed at the motorcycle, saying "Bike!" and then with great pride, motioned back over to their little red trikes and shouted out "Bike!" Yep, in their minds, they are right on par with the choppers. And with the cool red color and the flashy streamers of thier trikes, who can blame them?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Butterflies, Astronauts, and a Rainy Garden

Today was a pretty rainy day. We went to the farmer's market and bought the girls their now-weekly sugar cookie to split and a bunch of carrots to crunch (this week we also got some beets, some sunflowers, and fresh eggs!). But the girls had had enough of being out in the drizzle, so we came home to make butterflies.

First, they used markers to decorate coffee filters cut open along the sides:
Then, they took watercolor brushes and water and painted over the filters:

Ta da (or tee da, as Clara would say) - Butterflies!

We had another fun activity today, courtesy of Grandma (Christina's mom). She sent the girls an astronaut kit - they made astronaut shoes and ran all over the house. We couldn't get non-blurry pictures of them at all - so here's the best we got. The girls LOVED wearing their astronaut shoes! We must have taken them off and put them back on dozens of times.

In the afternoon, the rain lessened and we headed out to our garden to see how everything was growing. The flower part of the garden was looking so lovely today - poppies bursting out in red, phlox in their little blue, delicate blossoms, and the tall lupine in purple were just gorgeous.

Elena was especially interested in the poppies today. We spent a lot of time sniffing them, looking at the unfurled buds, and talking about how a little green bud would pop open into a big red flower.
Steve showed Clara how our chives have started blossoming and reseeding themselves. Clara really likes investigating things she can smell, and you can really smell chives!
The poppies don't smell as good, but Clara was drawn in anyway:

Elena, still puzzling over those poppies:

Steve stops over to investigate with her:

Christina got in on the fun, too - laughing with the girls as we shook water off the flower stems:

Trying once again to explain how poppies "work:"

Blurry but fun - Steve catches a peek at his three girls through the flowers:

One last thing to investigate in the garden - the gargoyle downspout! They both used to be scared of this guy, but they have overcome that fear, and now like him (especially on days like today, when he's dripping water!).